Discover & Deliver: demystifying design

Find and buy design from your favourite hotels, restaurants and TV shows with the help of this new website

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The Independent Online

The latest series of Mad Men may have reignited our love affair with Don Draper, but what about those handsome 60s' wall lights, eh? Or that curvaceous office chair? And what if they could be yours?

The good news is they can and it’s all thanks to a new website, launched this month, which is helping shoppers to find and buy original lighting, furniture, tableware and accessories that theymay have seen (and coveted) in a film or on television, in a swanky restaurant, or at a fancy hotel, without employing the services of an interior designer.

Whether it’s the elegant copper pot your pasta dish arrived in at Cecconi’s, Mayfair (£72), the 50s inspired sun lounger you reclined upon around the roof-top pool of Soho House, Berlin (it was commissioned especially, since you ask) or that luxurious cotton bed linen hotels always seem to have, but you can never find to buy, Discover&Deliver makes exclusive design more available and accessible to those outside the design industry. And about time too.

The concept is that of Isabel Rutland’s, an ex-city high-flier, who loved the design pieces she was seeing during the course of her stays in hotels across the world, but had no idea where to find them for her own home. “I was quite lucky to travel a lot with my job and stay in some nice hotels,” she explains. “It struck me that there was a lot of furniture there that wasn’t readily available on the high street and which - even if you really searched for it - you had to be quite the Sherlock Holmes to get hold of.”

It wasn’t until her honeymoon, at The Greenwich Hotel, New York, where Tucker Robbins’ “cool reclaimed wood furniture” and The Grayling Design lighting caught her eye, that she decided to take action. “I broke the first rule of entrepreneurialism and dove into something which I had no experience of - interior design - but it felt like the right time to have a go at starting my own business.”

Getting it going “was incredibly complicated,” says Rutland, who spent two years researching hotels, finding and learning about designers such as Jean Prouve and Hans J Wegner, and building a completely bespoke piece of software that now enables Discover&Deliver to transport furniture anywhere in the world and calculate the price – including shipping and duty - of this upfront in order to protect customers from any unexpected charges upon delivery.

“We’re aiming to become the foremost design website from a hotel, bar and restaurant perspective,” says Rutland, who doesn’t charge the 120 or so hotels and restaurants currently listed on Discover&Deliverto be on there, instead focusing on providing a “design context” for pieces featured. “I like to think that, if I’ve seen it a design piece somewhere else, in a hotel that I really like for example, that I would have more confidence to purchase it,” she explains.

Visitors can browse the collection by product, place or designerand be assured that every item featured on the site is completely authentic, bearing the original maker’s mark.Meanwhile, if you see a piece of furniture, a light, piece of crockery or picture that you love and don’t know where to find it, you can simply take a picture and send it into Discover&Deliver, who will, completely free of charge, try and trace it for you and provide you with a price and the cost to ship it.

It might sound too good to be true (and for those without a sizeable disposable income, I’m afraid it is), but Discover&Deliver is, nevertheless, a wonderful idea that builds up a rounded picture of great design, providing a historical and contemporary framework for pieces such as Philippe Starck’s Miss K lamp (as seen in Mama Shelter, Paris), Hans J. Wegner’s Wishbone Chair (as seen in Danish TV series, The Killing) or Arne Jacobsen’s Swan Sofa (as seen in London’s Pollen Street Social) while offering fans a chance to buy the original designs. If onlyDon Draper was as easy to come by.

Emily Jenkinson is interiors writer for the mydeco marketplace, an online shopping experience where you can search hundreds of home furnishings and accessories all in one place.